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Farm News - February

Posted 2/12/2015 2:59pm by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Folks,

We hope that you are enjoying the winter months.  We are working hard - just doing things differently than the hectic summer time schedule.  Gregg is working on a composting recipe and making composting tea for the high tunnel.  The high tunnel is looking very well.  Gregg is excited to get things started in there.  He planted a couple flats of kale seeds to transplant into the high tunnel in March.  Oliver cleaned out the manure in the chicken shed and spread it in the high tunnel as well. So that soil is looking great. 

Gregg is also busy with jam-making.  He has made several batches of Shagbark Hickory syrup and also lots of applesauce.

Oliver and Juan have been trimming trees.  They are almost finished with them for the year.  The trees look great.  They have also been repairing wooden crates.  Oliver will be getting a load of wood shavings for bedding.  (We get it from an Amish wood crafter.) 


Nic, our soil specialist, has given Oliver his advice for several of the fields that we are trying to repair.  We will be spreading molasses on the one.  The field has improved so much in calcium and nitrogen since last year.  Now we are trying to get the good microbes working.  The molasses should do it!  Doesn't sugar get you motivatied? 

Oliver and Juan have been doing some work on the new farm that we are purchasing.  We will be settling for it at the end of February.  Thanks to all who were able to help us with loans for the principle amount.  These have helped us to avoid costly interest payments, so we can put our money into our fields and vegetables. 

This farm had been neglected for some time, so Oliver and Juan were pulling out trees and shrubs that were growing in the wrong places.  Unfortunately there are alot of willow trees growing on the bank of the pond.  Although they may look pretty they can ruin a pond.  We are probably going to need some more expert advice on removing them and when to do it.  The outbuildings need repairs and/or torn down completely.  If you saw it you might think it is too large of a job, but we can truly see the potential and Oliver and Juan are young and LOVE the physical work!  Also the price was right.  The elderly folks who own the property will still be able to live there until September, 2016.  During that time they will be removing all the junk and stuff that has been accumulated over the years.  Oliver will be helping them with this huge job. 

We will be having two work days this spring.  If you are available, please come!  We would love to have you visit and also help us to do some planting.  The first work day will probably be  Friday, March 27.  At this work day we will be planting spring onions.  The second work day will be on Saturday, April 11.  We will be planting blackberry bushes at that one.  I will be sending you more specific emails about these days as we get closer.  Make a day of it, come visit the farm, do some work and get a good meal as well!


If you have not signed up yet for the 2015 CSA season - now is the time!  You can go to the website www.orchardcountryproduce.com and sign up.  You will automatically get the early bird discount when you sign up for all three session.  You can also save an additional 4% if you send a check for the total. 

If you would like to organize a drop off for the CSA please let us know and we can send you information and flyers to distribute at your workplace or neighborhood.  If you live in an apartment complex and community we would love to organize a drop off at your home.  Please give us the contact information for your building management and we will contact them and see if we cannot get a drop off there.

We are also looking for a new Farm Stand location for a Saturday.  Does any one have any ideas of a great location for a Saturday Farm Stand?  If so,  please let us know and we will try to coordinate with the property owners. 

Thanks to all who have supported us over the years.  Your loyalty and faithfulness have inspired us to keep on producing and planting and  trying to improve our techniques and develop new marketing strategies.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone in the Spring.  Again if you are in the area or if you would like to take a short 1 and 1/2 hour drive to the farm, we would love to have you come.  We have LOTS of fresh eggs and apples!  Let us know and we would look forward to seeing you.

Gregg, Louise, Virginia and Oliver Keckler

 Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc